The Bishop of Shrewsbury has condemned panic-buying and called for the faithful to show “active solidarity” with the elderly and vulnerable, as his diocese joins others in switching to streaming services online.
The Right Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury since 2010, denounced the “selfishness” apparent in “ugly scenes of panic buying”, and contrasted these with the “self-giving love” of the Gospels.
In his latest pastoral letter, Bishop Davies called for Christians to remember the conditions of “those on low incomes, families who are dependent on food banks, and the homeless on our streets”, emphasising: “No one who suffers...must be beyond our care or charity.”
Masses will be live-streamed from Shrewsbury Cathedral following the suspension of all public services in Britain by the Catholic Church earlier this week.
The Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland have announced that all public Masses and other services are suspended indefinitely, although many churches are staying open for individual prayer. The decision was taken in line with government advice on how to slow the coronavirus pandemic, and protect the lives of the elderly and other vulnerable groups.
The decision means that for the first time in their history, many dioceses, including Shrewsbury, will no longer have any public Masses being celebrated. In response to this unprecedented situation the diocese is organising the live-streaming of Masses throughout the day, every day of the week, led by the bishop and priests of Shrewsbury Cathedral and in a number of parish churches.
From today, Sunday, the website of the Diocese of Shrewsbury features a portal from where Catholics can watch and participate in Daily Mass, Morning, Evening and Night Prayer, the Rosary, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction and a blessing for those who are sick. Aside from the services, which will last from 6.45 am to 8.30 pm, the redesigned website will also provide news, advice, and information regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
Another part of the Church shifting how it ministers to the faithful in response to the Covid-19 pandemic is Stella Maris, the Apostleship of the Sea. Although the chaplains and ship visitors of the apostolate have been forced to stop on-ship work due to the infection risks involved, Stella Maris is continuing to provide spiritual and practical support to seafarers through “social media, email, mobile phone and WhatsApp.”
Stella Maris CEO Martin Foley said that the apostolate was sending support packages of toiletries and other basic necessities, SIM cards and faith materials to seagoing Christians.
The Tablet has set up an online collection of resources for Catholics on the Coronavirus outbreak, which can be found here.